LIGHTS, CAMERA, AMALEE by Dar Williams

LIGHTS, CAMERA, AMALEE

Age Range: 10 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Amalee returns in a revealing sequel (to Amalee, 2004), somewhat older, wiser and more self-assured. Now 12, she’s invited to meet her maternal grandmother for the first time, several days before the woman’s death. Estranged from her deceased mother’s family and interested in learning more about the parent she never knew, Amalee responds to the invitation with trepidation and curiosity. The meeting leads to an inheritance of over $2,000 in coins kept in an oversized champagne bottle with instructions to use the money for a personal interest. Amalee makes a documentary short film on the importance of maintaining the natural ecosystems and learns more about human relationships within her own network of friends, former school enemies and family. Williams interweaves elements of environmental science, film production, first crushes and the very normal emotional growth of a tween’s initial understanding of a mother’s alcoholism and subsequent early demise. While the story gets a bit tedious with all the filming/script/editing dialogue, and less adventurous than Carl Hiaasen’s environmentally themed Hoot (2002), this is still a multilayered work, offering a well-developed protagonist who has grown into a sincere, genuine, caring adolescent. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-80352-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2006